DEUTSCHE WELLE (German
National Broadcaster) - 22nd March 2010
Surface mining in Goa holiday idyll
Author: Jochen Faget
the smallest state in India, is known as a vacation paradise. But now
things come to the iron ore industry has become. In surface mining, and
without regard to environmental damage.
the farmer Rama Velip every day working in his coconut grove and in the
newly created cashew nut plantation. Next door, he watered his rice
fields. 17 people, the whole extended family live on the 15 acres, which
has already bought Rama's father. But Rama does not know how long they
can stay still. A mining company has applied to the Government of Goa,
degrade in the vicinity of the village of Rama iron ore. Then it was
over to agriculture: "We fight against the mine," complains the farmer,
who is in his forties. "For iron ore mining, the water unusable for
agriculture and reduced the water table. Then there is no water for the
rice fields anymore."
Little regard for losses
iron ore mining in the Indian state of Goa little consideration is given
to the environment. Since the turn of the millennium world commodity
prices exploded, the number of open-pit mines in Goa has skyrocketed.
Whole mountains are removed, agricultural land for hundreds of meters
deep dug, even cut down forests. The environmental damage is
catastrophic, says Claude Alvares of the environmental group Goa
Foundation: "The river beds of our two largest rivers Zuari and Mandovi,
are coated with a film of mine tailings, even if the mining companies
all their money for was spending, it would not be enough for. to pay the
damages. According to scientific studies, these two rivers were already
dead almost 20 years ago How bad must it be until now! "
nearly ten percent of the area of
mining licenses are granted. Would that all would be really used it for
an absolute disaster, environmentalists fear. Yet politicians from
incite. Prataphsing Rane, Speaker of Parliament and longtime head of
government of Goa appeased: "To say that mining is bad, would be
fundamentally wrong But of course, the legislature must protect the
environment, must be planted after mining the landscape again.."
Claude Alvares called cynical lip service by the Goa Foundation that
such statements. For, first, that still says not a single mine to be
exhausted and newly planted been. Secondly, the mining industry a
powerful lobby: Some 50,000 jobs are in Goa from him, most of which
local companies make billions in profits. And many politicians of Goa
earned strong with partners or contractors who complain Umweltschüzter.
The farmer Rama Velip complains. "Politicians are stuck with the mining
companies under a blanket They get a lot of money to send even the
police if we protest against the mining industry, the companies file
charges against us and we will be arrested I was already... four times
in prison. "
yet the resistance against the destruction of natural resources is
increasing. Villagers block roads, because the noise is unbearable by
overloaded ore trucks and the dust is not only destroying the cashew
plantations, but also causes respiratory diseases. Environmental
organizations such as the Goa Foundation suing mining licenses in
protected areas and game reserves. The wind has turned, says Claude
Alvares. "A few years people have accepted mining yet but have seen for
it, what happens to their villages, they are not more willing, the mood
has changed and only.. the money that is made with mining, as well as
the tacit tolerance of the policy to keep the industry alive. "
Central government intervenes
fight against the mining lobby will be a long, white Claude Alvares of
the Goa Foundation. Because of the high price of iron is also mined in
Goa now poor-quality ore. Alone in the farmhouse near the village of
Rama Velip therefore want to dig two more companies. The lawsuits have
been filed, however. But the road through the courts of the Indian
judiciary can take up to twenty years. An important first victory of the
Environmentalists have won anyway: The Minister of the Indian central
government has recently declared that he would not as long as the need
for new mines approve environmental impact studies, to define the state
government of Goa mining its policy clear.